(Important information for self published authors considering a paid ad campaign)

Hi friends, visitors and fans,

A while back I promised I would share the results of various ad campaigns I have run across three major social networks. I chose to run ads on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as they are my main avenues for promoting my books. I have put together some detailed graphics for you to get a handle on the stats. I think readers of my blog will be surprised to learn that despite the rather large numbers, in the end, they made not even the slightest bit of difference to sales or interest in my books. In total I spent $50.00 (AU) on all three campaigns. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but one would have expected that the investment would have returned a positive outcome for me as an indie author. Sadly, they did not. In point of fact, the one month I sold the most books in February this year, I did not advertise at all. I did promote in the usual manner and the results in February were due largely to the launch of my latest novel, Children of Mars.

It is my firm belief that ad campaigns by the major social networks are at best, worthless and at worst, outright scams. I say this with a fair degree of annoyance. I know that they cannot and will not promise the results one might reasonably expect, but to have no measurable gains for all the thousands of views and likes is, to put it mildly, very disappointing.

On the positive side (there always is one), I did generate a fair bit of exposure for my brand and as a result of the substantial interest, I can now announce that when I do a Google search of Paul G Day (Without inverted commas I might add), the first twenty results are all my name. Yay me! it is a small victory and a good outcome. But as far as interest converting to sales, well, there were none. That’s the bottom line.

Cast a careful look over the three graphs below. Graph 1 is the Twitter Ad campaign, Graph 2 is the Facebook Ad campaign and finally graph 3 is the YouTube Ad campaign. Please note that the Twitter Ad is still going and the results in the graph are incomplete at this stage. But there was enough information for me to tell you all categorically that the results speak for themselves. Paid Ad campaigns are a resounding failure (in terms of readers buying books).

Now I draw your attention to the deception of Facebook in their particular paid likes campaigns. I was very careful to screen capture all the relevant information, including who liked my page. I have a document twenty pages long with almost a thousand names on it and guess what, they are all from India and many of those accounts were fake. How do I know this? Well, my investigations led me to that conclusion because every time I went to the profile page of a select few of these people, they had minimal information and no status updates to speak of and they all used very similar types of information. Of the ones that did have information, they were a contrivance. This was very clear. I’ve been around a while and I know what to look for when spotting fake profiles. One guy in particular liked my page under different pseudonyms, each with their own FB profile.

Does Facebook know about this? Is Facebook paying individuals to like pages in “like” campaigns, knowing all too well they are not even real? All the evidence points towards this fact. This is disgusting behavior and it amounts to fraud on the behalf of FB. it goes without saying they will not be getting another red cent from me.

My advice to anyone considering a paid ad campaign with any of the major social networks is DON’T! You will be chasing superficial interest with hard earned cash and for naught or very close to it.

Twitter Graph 1

FB Graph 2

YouTube Graph 3




20 thoughts on “AD CAMPAIGN RESULTS

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. As usual it looks as though it’s down to us and our interaction with the public. I did a one day promotion of one of my books on my blog last month and that generated some sales so I may go that route again with a different one at some stage.It’s still bringing me in new followers for the blog which may pay off little by little.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not alone in having the Adblock plug-in on Firefox and I guess one of the things these ad companies will not tell you is how easy it is for web users to bypass and circumvent ads.

    The only people making money from ads are the people selling ad space. The likes of Facebook and Google will only get richer as the clamour to advertise goods and services increases.

    I know it’ll be no consoloaton to you, but it’s a lesson to other authors to see reality in action: ads don’t work, social media doesn’t work. All the ‘advice’ we keep being subjected to is, in part, contradicted by your experiences. Hope you have better luck using some other method of promotion.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am going to agree with you. Social media sites get people engaged and will follow you, but at best only a scant few will buy the books. I have hustled for 3 years trying to sell my books via social media and I’ve spent so much money on different advertising sites, and nothing worked – EXCEPT Book Bub. Yep, it’s the only thing that has kept my sales (albeit small) going for a few weeks after. I will only boost a post on FB for an announcement for people to see, but not to expect any sales of any kind. Sorry your stuff didn’t work – we work so hard to be noticed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • They only link to the page in most cases, but with twitter you can nominate tweets with links directly to where people can buy your books. It’s impossible to link directly in ad campaigns on either FB or YouTube as for those it is about views or likes. Even still, one would expect at least one click through to a link to a book for every thousand views or likes or what have you. In order to do an ad campaign where all views are linked back to books, one would need to do an Amazon Ad campaign. Something I am reluctant to take on at present. Conventional wisdom suggests authors promote extensively through social media to achieve success. The whole point of this exercise was to see if that actually works and translates into genuine interest. In my experience it does not. If you want to run a “sales campaign” they can be very expensive. If any of that makes sense.


  4. I’ve done alright with posting sales on the sites that post for free. Thanks for sharing your results with these venues. I’ve heard the same about Goodreads ads, no one I’ve ever talked to ever got a single sale from them. A successful author friend of mine says she did well with Bookbub, but that costs a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing this info. As Indies we’re all struggling and cash-strapped… it seems any money we do have spare is best off going towards hiring an editor or cover designer. So sorry it didnt work out for you, but also its better to know exactly where you stand. Social media has so much potential to help us get known, but is controlled so tightly that the only way to do it is to throw wads of cash at it, and even then there are no guarantees. Shame…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very interesting, Paul, and thank you for sharing. I am not an author but please hear me out. I am a blogger who does some book reviews and am on Twitter, using it to get greater exposure for my blog. I follow and am followed by many authors.

    Observations: #1 I couldn’t find your twitter account on your website. Found it by doing a Twitter search. #2 You don’t have many Twitter followers. I’m wondering if an Ad Campaign works better with larger numbers. At any rater, increasing your followers, especially of other authors and book bloggers, would give you much greater exposure. #3 Not on FB or YouTube – can’t comment.

    That being said, I agree with your conclusion that social media does not work for selling books, and that your best bet is to make personal contact with readers, which can be done by following them on social platforms and developing a relationship with them one on one.

    Best wishes for your book sales. Never give up! ~Joyce

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I was mainly talking about campaigns on the specific social media site, but, because of your comment, I have now made it far easier for visitors to find my social networks by installing link buttons at the top of the right margin and adding other important links on every page. Thanks again for your feedback. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not only authors who fail to benefit from social media ads. In 2014, I spent over a thousand dollars on LinkedIn PPC (pay per click) campaigns. While my website stats showed increased visitors (which could have easily been staged, as the FB likes were, but I knew they were specifically from LI because the ad directed them to a duplicate webpage that could not be accessed in any other way), I never gained a single new customer out of it, despite targeting authors directly. (FWIW, LI’s targeting is much better than FB’s.)

    No more paid ads for me, either! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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